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    Mimiko Is My Friend But He Left N220bn Debt – Akeredolu

    The Governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN), has maintained his position that his immediate predecessor, Dr Olusegun Mimiko, left behind a debt portfolio of N220 billion.

    He made this known in a press briefing to mark his first year in office in the state capital, Akure.

    Akeredolu, a former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), also debunked allegations that he was shielding his predecessor from facing blame or prosecution because of their friendship.

    He said, “Yes, former Governor Mimiko is my friend. We have been friends since our university days. We got to the university the same year, 1974. We were both involved in student union politics. So, I cannot deny him. I cannot allow politics to destroy everything between us. Your friend will remain your friend in and out of government. I will never deny him; I won’t, because politics will come and go. He knows me and I know him. He knows my beliefs; he knows that there is no way I would cover up or hide anything. So, it is not a case of ‘he is my friend, so I am covering up anything for him’. No.
    I made a clear statement when we appointed commissioners. My work cannot be hindered by what anybody is. I enumerated the financial deficit I met on the ground that came up to N220 billion including so many gratuities and pensions, among others. The state was in debt. I do not have to cover anybody, but my friend and I still talk. Though when I said I met nothing on the ground, his commissioner for information said no, they left money. And I asked, will the government that has money owed workers seven months’ salaries? I restated that what I met on ground was over N220 billion debt. So, it is a fallacy to say Mimiko left money. If they had money l, would they owe seven months’ salaries?”

    Akeredolu also dismissed calls for local government autonomy, saying it is not practicable in Nigeria.

    He said, “During the campaigns , I never promised to support local government autonomy. Being a lawyer , who understands the principle of true federalism , I can ’ t support that kind of move. We must handle local government autonomy with caution because Nigeria has only the federal (government ) and state as federating units. That is the practice of federalism all over the world . I don’ t know what they mean by local government autonomy. Does that mean the Akure South Local Government will stand on its own and be above the state government ? Local government autonomy is not practicable in Nigeria.”

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